(Winter) Fest Five: Amy Anderson - San Jose Jazz

(Winter) Fest Five: Amy Anderson

You can catch Amy Anderson soaking up live music three or more nights a week--supporting local musicians and the scene is one of her main passions.  Amy has been actively working to enliven downtown San Jose for over a decade as events and promotions manager for the San Jose Downtown Association.  She currently sits on the newly-formed Fountain Blues Foundation Board, working to make sure the long-running Fountain Blues Festival remains a part of the Silicon Valley cultural landscape. She works to connect musicians and San Jose music fans through Musicians Meet Up groups and liveandlocalsj.com marketing efforts, and produces Music in the Park and over 100 days of event programming each year in downtown San Jose. Here is what Amy is catching at Winter Fest:  

Free Afro-Peruvian Dance Party with Jaranon Y Bochinche

Fri Mar 6, MACLA This made my list of picks due to my affinity for percussion. Jaranon Y Bochinche’s artful blend of traditional Afro-Peruvian dance and instrumentation and vocals will transform the intimate performance space at MACLA. And did I mention this performance is FREE and you can learn dance instruction from an expert for the first 20 minutes?  This is a brother and sister duo that teaches and performs to spread their Afro-Peruvian roots to the Bay Area in a Carnaval style - how can you not check this out? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxD42apnRKw  

Les Yeux Noirs

Fri Mar 6, Cafe Stritch I was immediately hooked after seeing Les Yeux Noirs perform at an outdoor festival in 2002 - they had the crowd bouncing all night as they magically fused traditional party music of Roma with Eastern European Jewish music, singing in multiple languages including Russian, Roma and Yiddish. The band's name translates as "The Dark Eyes" - taken from a Russian tune immortalized by gypsy-jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, and like Reinhardt, what makes them contagious, is their unique rhythms... in this case, a sextet that includes a drum set, electric bass and guitar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g3BjQLGb_c  

Kris Bowers

Fri Mar 6, San Jose Stage Company I still cannot believe Bowers is only 25, after seeing his stellar set at last year's San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. He's a keyboard virtuoso who easily goes from poignant recital balladry, to mind boggling hip-hop.  His drummer, Jamire Williams, is equally diverse and powers a multi-talented band that will take you on a jazz journey of "then and now," with a fresh voice for the future of jazz.  Look for this one to sell out San Jose Stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N_8xl7o4io  

Marc Cary Focus Trio

Sat Mar 7, Cafe Stritch Fans of improvisational and post-bop jazz should take notice of this stellar trio in the intimate environs of Cafe Stritch. You never know where Cary will take you, and he always elevates those around him to follow his improvisational magic. He first caught my ear on his collaborations with Ani Difranco, Lauryn Hill and Q-Tip, which led me back to jazz masters like Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner and Duke Ellington—artists he honors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z811TKzzVjM  

Free Salsa Dance Party with Edgardo Cambón y LaTiDo

Sat Mar 7, Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont A not-to-be-missed FREE performance for fans of Latin percussion, combined with salsa dancing (even free lessons in the beginning for those that need to brush up). Edgardo often plays the traditional bombo leguero (a low pitch double headed drum that's popular in South America), as well as the Uruguayan candombe drums, paired with a highly accomplished sextet that immerses the audience in his live performances with Latin dance styles that range from son and mambo to salsa and timba. His years of teaching percussion shines through in his passion for describing from the stage the instruments, the music pieces and their relevance in different societies--and his passion even rang truer with me when I heard that he spent five years teaching percussion at Folsom Prison in a prisoner rehab program.   Salsa Dance Party with Edgardo Cambon y LaTiDo and Afro-Peruvian Dance Party with Jaranon Y Bochinche are two of four free dance parties made possible through the generosity of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association.  Winter Fest takes place Feb 27-Mar 8. For more info about Winter Fest, and to purchase tickets, visit sanjosejazz.org/winterfest  

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